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Monday, October 18, 2010

Gamp and More Gamp - And What I Learned This Time

Last May I bought a weaving kit from Halcyon Yarn but when it arrived I realized it was far too advanced for my skills at that time.  I got it out two weeks ago and decided I was ready.

The kit used 10/2 Perle Cotton at 36 ends per inch in a Huck Lace (also called Huckabuck or Huckaback) pattern.  Once I got the loom warped the weaving was pretty fast.  I finished sewing the hems on the six place mats last night.

Here is what I learned.  I would probably not make placemats from perle cotton again.  It is too soft.  I expect place mats to be a bit stiff and sturdy.  These are soft enough to be napkins.  If I'd known that from the beginning, I would have made napkins instead!  I ended up pressing them with spray starch.

Huck Lace draws in A LOT.  I spent a bit of time trying to iron the placemats into rectangles.  You can see how they flare a bit at the ends where there is an inch of plain weave.  If I made them again I would not add that inch at the ends.

I don't like black edges with colored weft.  It seems to show every tiny flaw.  The pattern called for an inch of tabby on either edge.  If I did them again I would reduce this to half an inch.

With such a dense warp (36 epi) it was IMPOSSIBLE to get an even weft, no matter how hard I muscled the beater.  36 warp ends equaled an inch - half that many weft shots equaled an inch in pattern, and in tabby it was even less, more like 12-14! 

The hems of each place mat were woven using plain sewing thread for weft.  This made a smooth, warp-faced BEAUTIFUL shiny fabric!  The color of the thread hardly showed at all.  In fact, tightly packed 10/2 warp with sewing thread weft would make fantastic striped napkins. They'd have a great sheen, be smooth, and the stripes would be solid.  The spool of thread fit right into a small boat shuttle so it was easy to weave.

I liked the huck lace pattern and will probably make something with all my leftovers.  I will expect it to be soft, cushy, and draw in...a lot!  I will not repeat the elements I didn't like but will do it my OWN way next time. 

As always, I learned a lot!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Spun It, Dyed It, Wove It, Sewed It!

I finished Marty's vest yesterday and he wore it to work today.  It looks fabulous on him!

Sewing with my handspun was a fun challenge.  (Here is a link to my post about spinning and weaving the fabric.)   First I had to CUT OUT THE PIECES.  The first snip felt positively sinful but after that it was fun.  The fabric pattern is the same on front and back and so I was able to fit all the pattern pieces on, one layer at a time, without regard to any of that.  It is a good thing my husband is skinny.  I wove this on an 18" wide loom - any larger and the pieces would not have fit. 

Because the fabric is somewhat coarse I had to handle it as little as possible because it ended to fray at the raw edges.  Fortunately the pattern didn't call for any overturned or hemmed edges - the whole thing was lined.  The fabric would not have been stable enough for an unlined garment - I think it would have stretched out of shape.

I lined the vest with rayon lining.  The welt pockets were also lined with rayon.  I reinforced the buttonholes with a strip of iron-on interfacing on the back side of the fabric and sewed them on the machine.  Mom would have made hand-bound buttonholes, I hope she was not looking down at me from that sewing room in the sky!